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Ev'n you on murd'ring errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-staind roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd,

My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild

Sore on you beats.

Now Phæbe, in her midnight reign, Dark muffi'd, view'd the dreary plain; Still crouding thoughts, a pepsive train,

Rose in my soul, When on my ear this plaintive strain,

Slow, solemn, stole

“ Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost !
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows !
Not all your rage, as now united, shows

More hard unkindness, unrelenting,

Vengeful malice unrepenting,
Than heav'n-illumin'd man on brother man be

stows!
See stern Oppression's iron grip,

Or mad Ambition's gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,

Woe, Want, and Murder o'er a land!
Ev'n in the peaceful rural vale,

Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper'd Luxury, Flatt'ry by her side,

The parasite empoisoning her ear,

With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o'er proud property, extended wide,
And eyes the simple rustic hind,

Whose toil upholds the glitt'ring show,
A creature of another kind,

Some coarser substance, unrefin'd,
Plac'd for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below.

Where, where is Love's fond, tender throe,
With lordly Honour's lofty brow,

The pow'rs you proudly own?
Is there, beneath Love's noble name,
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,

To bless himself alone!
Mark maiden-innocence a prey

To love-pretending snares,
This boasted Honour turns away,

Shunning soft Pity's rising sway,
Regardless of the tears, and unavailing pray’rs !

Perhaps, this hour, in Mis’ry's squalid nest,

She strains your infant to her joyless breast, And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking

blast!
Oh ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a nt but what yourselves create,
Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,

Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill-satisfy'd keen nature's clam'rous call,

Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep, While thro' the ragged roof and chinky wall, Chill, o'er his slumbers, piles the drifty heap!

Think on the dungeon's grim confine,
Where guilt and poor misfortune pine !
Guilt, erring man, relenting view!
But shall thy legal rage pursue
The wretch, already crushed low

By cruel fortune's undeserved blow?
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress,
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss !

I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer

Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hail'd the morning with a cheer,

A cottage-rousing craw.

But deep this truth impress'd my mind

Thro' all his works abroad, The heart benevolent and kind

The most resembles God.

EPISTLE

TO DAVIE,

A BROTHER POET*.

January

I.
While winds fræe aff Ben-Lomond blaw,
And bar the doors wi' driving snaw,

And hing us owre the ingle,
I set me down to pass the time,
And spin a verse or twa o' rhyme,

In hamely westlin jingle.
While frosty winds blaw in the drift,

Ben to the chimla lug,
I grudge a wee the great folks' gift,
That live sae bien an' snug :
I tent less, and want less

Their roomy fire-side;
But hanker and canker,

To see their cursed pride,

II.
It's hardly in a body's pow'r,
To keep, at times, frae being sour,

To see how things are shar'd;
How best o' chiels are whiles in want,
While coofs on countless thousands rant,

And ken na how to wair't:
But, Davie, lad, ne'er fash your head,

Tho' we hae little gear,
We're fit to win our daily bread,

As lang's we're hale and fier :

* David Sillar, one of the club at Tarbolton, and author of a volume of poems in the Scottish dialect.

« Mair spier na, no fear na'

Auld age ne'er mind a feg,
The last o't, the warst o't,

Is only for to beg.

III. To lie in kilns and barns at e'en, When banes are craz'd, and bluid is thin,

Is, doubtless, great distress! Yet then content could make us blest; Ev’n then, sometimes we'd snatch a taste

of truest happiness.
The honest heart that's free frae a'

Intended fraud or guile,
However fortune kick the ba',
Has aye some cause to smile :
And mind still, you'll find still,

A comfort this nae sma';
Nae mair then, we'll care then,

Nae farther can we fa',

IV.
What tho', like commoners of air,
We wander out, we know not where,

But either house or hal'?
Yet nature's charms, the hills and woods,
The sweeping vales, and foaming floods,

Are free alike to all.
In days when daisies deck the ground,

And blackbirds whistle elear,
With honest joy our hearts will bound,
To see the coming year :
On braes when we please, then,

We'll sit and sowth a tune;
Syne rhyme till’t, we'll time till't,

And sing't when we hae done,

V.
It's no in titles nor in rank;
It's no in wealth like Lon'on bank,

Ramsay.

To purchase peace and rest;
Its no in makin muckle mair ;
Its no in books ; its no in lear,

To make us truly blest:
If happiness hae not her seat

And centre in the breast,
We may be wise, or rich, or great,
But never can be blest:
Nae treasures, nor pleasures,

Could make us happy lang ;
The heart aye's the part aye,

That makes us right or wrang.

VI. Think

ye, that sic as you and I, Wha drudge and drive thro' wet an' dry,

· Wi' never-ceasing toil; Think ye, are we less blest than they, Wha scarcely tent us in their way,

As hardly worth their while ?
Alas ! how aft in haughty mood,

God's creatures they oppress!
Or else, neglecting a' that's guid,
They riot in excess !
Baith careless, and fearless

Of either heav'n or hell!
Esteeming, and deeming

It's a' an idle tale !

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VII.
Then let us cheerfu' acquiesce ;
Nor make our scanty pleasures less,

By pining at our state;
And, even should misfortunes come,
1, here wha sit, hae met wi' some,

An's thankfu' for them yet.
They gie the wit of age to youth ;

They let us ken oursel;
They make us see the naked truth,

The real guid and ill.

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